Reading Machine for Dr. NO
October 9, 2008
By Stacey Ho
In a textual piece from the early eighties, Vancouver artist Rodney Graham rewrites a scene from Ian Fleming’s Dr. No. Part of an extensive body of work that reconfigures the classic super-spy, lenz loops a climatic scene where Bond is caught in a fix—a centipede crawling up the length of his body. In Fleming’s version, 007 shakes off the bug and smoothly saves the day. In Graham’s version, the centipede is always there; Bond never escapes.
A take off of Graham’s practice, Derek Liddington’s Reading Machine for Dr. NO similarly loops a car chase scene from Dr. No. In Liddington’s piece, the bad guy’s car never flies off a cliff, does not blow up. Rather, James Bond is forever being chased in an infinite figure eight. There’s no pay off.
Liddington’s play on Rodney Graham’s strategies extends upon his fascination with Vancouver’s art scene, where artists, mixing their work with pop culture and academia, would freely appropriate each other’s practices.
“It’s a very traditional approach, much like the idea of an apprenticeship,” says Liddington. “Building a practice based on the practice of others is a traditionalist process that I’m interested in.”
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